Intel Briefing Has Congressman 'Convinced Even More Than Ever' That Soleimani Had To Go
As an Air Force veteran who served three tours in Iraq, Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger has had a view of the war there that few Americans have.
As a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee who was part of a classified briefing Wednesday on Capitol Hill, Kinzinger got a look at the circumstances surrounding the U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani that even few members of Congress have seen.
And Kinzinger has no doubts about the necessity — and justice — of the operation last week.
“I am convinced even more than ever — and I was fully convinced — this was the right move to save American lives on an imminent basis, and they did the right thing,” Kinzinger said in a Fox News interview Wednesday afternoon.
But he’s also seen that Democrats can’t seem to accept it.
Check out the interview here.
The contents of the briefing were classified, of course, but the conclusions Kinzinger drew from it are worth hearing — especially when it comes to Democratic reactions.
In the interview that took place shortly after the briefing, Kinzinger, now a lieutenant colonel in the Wisconsin Air National Guard, said his Democratic colleagues seemed uninterested in truly hearing the case for killing Soleimani.
They seemed to reject not only the legal basis for the drone strike ordered by President Donald Trump at Iraq’s Baghdad International Airport, he said, but also the justifications presented for it.
According to USA Today, the administration was represented by Trump’s top national security officials — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Defense Secretary Mike Esper, CIA Director Gina Haspel and Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
That might seem like a high-powered group, but Democrats weren’t impressed.
“It was sophomoric and utterly unconvincing,” Virginia Rep. Gerry Connolly told reporters.
“I believe more than ever, the Congress needs to act to protect the constitutional provisions about war and peace.”
Speaking to reporters earlier in the day, according to The Washington Post, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, the New York Democrat who chairs the House Democratic Caucus, was even more biting in his attack on the administration — accusing it of practicing “cowboy diplomacy.”
“Cowboy diplomacy did not work in Vietnam. Cowboy diplomacy did not work in Iraq. Cowboy diplomacy will not work in Iran,” Jeffries said, with the oh-so-deliberate intonations that pass for gravitas in liberal circles.
In his Fox interview, Kinzinger had a solid answer to that.
“Whatever’s happening, it’s not cowboy diplomacy. And it’s certainly better than surrender diplomacy that we’ve seen from the last administration,” he said.
He cited the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by President Barack Obama’s administration — which was supposed to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon for 10 years – as an example of appeasement.
“Really, we’d almost be out of this Iran deal. We’d be halfway through it,” he said, meaning Iran would be free in a few short years to develop a nuclear weapon without constraints. “This is an administration that’s standing up to defend the American people.”
Defending the American people is an argument that only seems to come from the right side of American politics as a rule — and that’s been particularly true during the Trump administration and the crowded field of spineless Democrats vying for their party’s nomination in 2020.
“I’ll tell you what. It’s really frightening that this became political so quickly, and I hope that changes,” Kinzinger said.
From the reactions to the classified briefings on Wednesday, it doesn’t look like that’s going to change anytime soon.
“If you walk in there saying you were unconvinced of the necessity of this, then I think you were unwilling to listen,” Kinzinger said.
He’s seen enough to know.
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